For many months of 2013, the top-three SUV list was a predictable cluster, including the Honda CR-V and Ford Escape trading places between first and second and the Chevrolet Equinox slotting in a reliable third. But lately, the Toyota RAV4 has shouldered ahead of Chevy, and looks like it could be a legitimate contender for second place, quickly catching up to the Escape.
Further down the list, the Subaru Forester continues its surge of popularity, likely bolstered in no small part by its 2014 SUV of the Year accolade. And although it just barely missed making the top 10 cut this month, the new 2014 Jeep Cherokee sold over 10,000 units in its first full month of sales, a strong performance for a new model and an indication we may see Jeep's new crossover contender on the Top 10 list soon.
Honda CR-V – 23,509, Up 5.3 Percent
The SUV sales horse race continues, and this month, the CR-V is ahead of the Escape by a comfortable margin. Although year-over-year November sales are up just 5.3 percent, it’s a robust sales performance compared with the Escape's nearly flat-line number.
Ford Escape – 20,988, Up 0.1 Percent
Once again, Honda tops Ford to take the SUV sales gold, but the Escape remains one of the brand's best-selling models and its most popular SUV by a significant margin. At this point, it's looking like the Escape will fall slightly behind the CR-V in the annual sales total, but these two remain the ones to beat in overall volume.
Toyota RAV4 – 19,447, Up 56.5 Percent
Stand aside, Chevy, there's a new player in town, and it's the RAV4. With almost 20,000 in sales for the month, the RAV4's practicality-minded redesign is vindicating itself in the showroom, with its sharper focus on economy and versatility paying off. We don’t know if Kaley Cuoco is getting a royalty for each RAV4 sold, but if she is, she's laughing all the way to the bank.
Chevrolet Equinox – 18,397, Up 9.4 Percent
The Equinox may have been pushed aside by the RAV4, but it's still a solid performer for Chevrolet and GM, and outsells the larger Traverse and Tahoe by more than a two-to-one margin. The four-cylinder model gets competitive fuel economy for its class, but remains on the heavy side, while the V-6 is powerful, but thirsty. Expect the redesign of the Equinox to be slightly smaller, lighter, and more fuel-efficient.
Jeep Grand Cherokee – 14,798, Up 9 Percent
The Grand Cherokee retains its distinction of being the best-selling midsize SUV on the market. While never known for being especially thrifty at the pump, the new EcoDiesel gets 30 mpg on the highway with 2WD, and the 4WD model still gets an excellent 28 mpg, impressive considering the Grand Cherokee's 5000-plus-pound weight.
Subaru Forester – 13,410, Up 135.1 Percent
Fresh off the podium where it got our 2014 SUV of the Year award, the Forester is obliterating the brand's sales records, up an incredible 135.1 percent over last November. It also impressively pulled ahead of such SUV top 10 mainstays as the Explorer, Wrangler, and Toyota Highlander.
Ford Explorer – 13,220, Down 8.6 Percent
The Explorer may be down, but it's not out for November. Sales for the month declined 8.6 percent, but it's still solidly in the top 10. Explorer shoppers have the choice of several trim levels and three engines, including the 365-hp EcoBoost V-6 in the Explorer Sport.
Jeep Wrangler – 11,753, Up 14 Percent
Every Wrangler has the tagline "Since 1941" stamped prominently in the interior, reminding buyers of its unparalleled heritage and its legitimate claim of being the most direct descendant of the original SUV. Its front and rear solid axles may seem dated, but make it very popular with the off-roading crowd.
Toyota Highlander – 11,544, Up 21.8 Percent
Toyota's recent redesign of the Highlander focusing on improving third-row room and versatility seems to have paid off, with sales up a healthy 21.8 percent for the month. Buyers have the choice of four-cylinder, V-6, or hybrid power.
Nissan Rogue – 10,487, Down 17.2 Percent
The new Nissan Rogue is rolling into showrooms, but hasn't hit its stride yet. The Rogue has been a consistent sales performer in 2013, and we expect it will climb its way back up the list again. We will see if Nissan's dual-model strategy keeping the outgoing Rogue in showrooms as the "Rogue Select" will pay off.